I just wrapped up watching Dark, a new-to-me show on Netflix. Dark is a German show surrounding the town of Winden. It seems generally like a normal little town, with the most interesting thing being a nuclear power plant that was built in the 50s. But in the year 2019, Jonas Kahnwald’s father killed himself, and then several months later, a kid went missing from the town. Then another kid disappears, and from there, the mystery around the town and a 33-year cycle of disappearances start down an eerie path.
This show lives up to its name, being a very dark show and very atmospheric. On their own, the shots of the forest surrounding Winden and the slow pacing give the viewer a feeling of always being on edge; this is then enhanced greatly by the soundtrack. Dark is a slow burn, but in the best way possible. Everything about it aesthetically builds into this, and you connect pieces and see how 2019 ties into 1986. You get to see characters as they were growing up, and then as they are now, and you see things in a different way than you often do for a TV show. There is also an idea in this show of not really knowing who people are, so as you explore more in 1986, you start to really see how the characters in 2019 became the way that they are.
Dark is a show that needs to be watched in German with subtitles though, in my opinion, in order to get the full feeling of the show. It’s too distracting when something that takes a couple of words to say in German takes five in English, or vice versa. I can watch dubbed anime most of the time because the mouths don’t really match up with the words anyway, but in this show, with the difference between German to English being more obvious, it was too jarring. And as it is a well paced show and a slow burner, there aren’t many moments that are just rushed through — because of that, you never feel like you’re rushing through reading the subtitles and missing what is happening on the screen, so I really would recommend using the subtitles.
Another thing that I’ve seen as a criticism of Dark is that it doesn’t wrap up more than a couple of the mysteries very satisfyingly. I liken this to a number of Brandon Sanderson books, in which one orverarching story is split into four or five parts. There’s almost always some payoff for each part of the story, and you feel like you’ve wrapped up that part, but it doesn’t wrap up the story as a whole. Dark is very much like that as well, and the only annoying thing about that is that I really want the next part of the story to be available now. For some, this might be annoying and might make it worth waiting for the second season to come out before watching the first (apparently, 2019 is when season two will reach Netflix, though I’m hoping it will sooner). However, if you’re looking for a new show that’s intense, creepy, and eerie, I wouldn’t bother waiting, as Dark is probably the best show I know of for that.
Overall, I loved this show. It hits the right notes for me — it’s a creepy show without being focused on jump scares or anything like that. It feels intense, it draws you in, and the characters are compelling. It’s a show where all the characters feel like they are some level of grey, where they aren’t bad, but aren’t entirely good. They also aren’t just grey for the sake of being grey, because that often just makes a character feel like a bad guy; they all have specific motivations that are tough, and they genuinely believe that they are doing the right thing or are doing something out of deep and strong emotions. Dark tugs at your heartstrings and keeps you wanting to know what will happen next.
I’d recommend Dark for most people. For some people it is going to be too intense; for some it is going to be too creepy. Kristen half-watched it because she thought it would be too creepy and scary, and I think with what it deals with, it might have been too much for her in some ways. It doesn’t go overboard on the scary or creepy aspects, but it also doesn’t let up on them. So watch the trailer before you watch the show if you are someone who isn’t sure about creepy shows, because this one is dark and intense.
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